Diabetes Research

Prof Roy Taylor

The Diabetes Research Group in Newcastle has applied MR spectroscopy and imaging to elucidate the abnormal storage of fat and glycogen in pancreas, liver and muscle in Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is escalating as a national public health problem, and the rapidly rising incidence in younger people will certainly be followed by premature coronary and stroke disease.

It is now clear that Type 2 diabetes is caused by abnormal fat storage. Research on how this may be reversed is available.  Application of a newly developed magnetic resonance method has allowed the importance of the pancreas fat content to be evaluated.

Other current studies have allowed identification of the failure of muscle glycogen storage and abnormal storage of fat in muscle after eating in Type 2 diabetes. This work is revolutionising concepts of intra-organ energy storage after eating both in normal health and in diabetes.

We have shown that there is no intrinsic abnormality in mitochondrial ATP production in muscle of people with Type 2 diabetes.

Current and planned work:

  • Further work on mechanisms underlying reversal of Type 2 diabetes by bariatric surgery or diet.
  • Comparing the effect of bariatric surgery with a very low calorie diet.
  • Investigation of the effect of a DPPIV inhibitor on liver fat in Type 2 diabetes.
  • Work on postprandial metabolism in normal health and in diabetes.
  • Studies of the effect of exercise training on the previously defined abnormal muscle metabolism in Type 2 diabetes.
  • Non-invasive investigation of kidney function in Type 1 diabetes.
  • Islet cell transplants - morphology in relation to insulin secretory capacity.

These studies have been supported by The Wellcome Trust, Diabetes UK, The Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation, Novartis Pharma AG and the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes.


Diabetes Projects at the MR Centre

Diabetes Publications from the MR Centre

Year 2013

  • Taylor R. Type 2 Diabetes: Etiology and Reversibility. Diabetes Care. 2013 Apr;36(4):1047-55. doi: 10.2337/dc12-1805. PubMed PMID: 23520370.
  • Taylor R. Reversing the Twin Cycles of Type 2 Diabetes: The Banting Lecture 2012. Diabet Med. 2013 Mar;30(3):267-75. doi: 10.1111/dme.12039. PubMed PMID: 23075228.
  • Steven S, Lim EL, Taylor R. Population response to information on reversibility of Type 2 diabetes. Diabet Med. 2013 Jan 15. doi: 10.1111/dme.12116. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Knop F, Taylor R. Mechanism of metabolic advantage after bariatric surgery - it’s all gastrointestinal factors vs. it’s all food restriction. Diabetes Care. 2013 Aug;36 Suppl 2:S287-91. doi: 10.2337/dcS13-2032. PubMed PMID: 23882061.

Year 2012

  • Taylor R. Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes. 2012 Apr;61(4):778-9. doi: 10.2337/db12-0073. PubMed PMID: 22442298.

Year 2011

  • Lim EL, Hollingsworth KG, Aribisala BS, Chen MJ, Mathers JC, Taylor R. Reversal of type 2 diabetes: normalisation of beta cell function in association with decreased pancreas and liver triacylglycerol. Diabetologia. 2011 Jun 9.
  • Lim EL, Hollingsworth KG, Smith F, Thelwall PE, Taylor R. Inhibition of lipolysis in type 2 diabetes normalizes glucose disposal without change in muscle glycogen synthesis rates. Clin. Sci. 2011; 121: 169-177.
  • Lim EL, Hollingsworth KG, Smith F, Thelwall PE, Taylor R. Effects of raising muscle glycogen synthesis on skeletal muscle ATP turnover rate in type 2 diabetes. American J Physiology 2011 PMID 21917633.
  • Thelwall PE, Taylor R, Marshall SM. Non-invasive investigation of kidney disease in Type 1 diabetes by magnetic resonance imaging. Diabetologia 2011; 54(9):2421-9.
  • Taylor R. Reversing Type 2 diabetes. Practical Diabetes 2011; 28: 377-378.

Year 2010

  • Lim EL, Hollingsworth KG, Thelwall P, Taylor R. Measuring the acute effect of insulin infusion on ATP turnover rate in human skeletal muscle using phosphorus-31 magnetic resonance saturation transfer spectroscopy. NMR in Biomedicine 2010; 23:952-7.
  • Chen MJ, Jovanovic A, Taylor R. Utilizing the Second-Meal Effect in Type 2 Diabetes: Practical Use of a Soya-Yogurt Snack. Diabetes Care 2010; 2552-54.
  • Steven S, Lim EL, Taylor R. Reversal of type 2 diabetes. Diabetic Medicine 2010; 27: 724-725.
  • Balasubramanian R, Gerrard J, Dalla Man C, Firbank MJ, Lane A, English PT, Cobelli C, Taylor R. Combination peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma and alpha agonist treatment in type 2 diabetes prevents the beneficial pioglitazone effect on liver fat content. Diabetic Medicine 2010; 27:150-156.
  • Hayes L, Pearce MS, Firbank MJ, Walker M, Taylor R, Unwin N. Do obese but metabolically normal women differ in intra-abdominal fat and physical activity levels from those with the expected metabolic abnormalities? A cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health. 2010; 10:723.

Year 2009

  • Jovanovic A, Leverton E, Solanky B, Snaar JEM, Morris PEG, Taylor, R.  The second meal phenomenon is associated with enhanced muscle glycogen storage. Clin. Sci. 2009 Jul 2;117(3):119-27.
  • Jovanovic A, Gerrard, J., Taylor, R. The second meal phenomenon in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2009 Jul;32(7):1199-201.

Year 2008

  • Taylor R. Pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes: tracing the reverse route from cure to cause. Diabetologia. 2008;51(10):1781-9.
  • Trenell MI, Hollingsworth KG, Lim EL, Taylor R. Increased daily walking improves lipid oxidation without changes in mitochondrial function in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2008 Aug;31(8):1644-9.
  • Sorensen L, Siddall PJ, Trenell MI, Yue DK. Differences in Metabolites in Pain-Processing Brain Regions in Patients With Diabetes and Painful Neuropathy. Diabetes Care. 2008 May 1, 2008;31(5):980-1.
  • Lim, E; Trenell, MI; Hollingsworth, KG; Smith, FE; Thelwell, PE; Taylor, R.  Is the sub-normal insulin stimulation of muscle ATP synthesis in type 2 diabetes always a consequence of low rates of muscle glycogen synthesis?   Diabetologia 51: 766 (2008).
  • Trenell, MI; Thelwall, P; Thomas, K; Stevenson, E.  Effect of high and low glycaemic index diets on skeletal muscle and liver substrate storage and utilisation during exercise.  Diabetologia 51: 248 (2008).
  • Ravikumar B, Gerrard J, Man CD, Firbank MJ, Lane A, English PT, et al. Poglitazone decreases fasting and postprandial endogenous glucose production in proportion to decrease in hepatic triglyceride content. Diabetes 2008; 57(9):2288-95.

Year 2007

  • Ravikumar B, Gerrard J, English PT, Firbank MJ, Taylor R. Combination therapy with PPARgamma and PPARalpha agonists in Type 2 diabetes improves glucose and lipid metabolism independent of changes in tissue triglyceride content. Diabetic Medicine. 2007;24:43-.
  • Jovanovic A, Gerrard J, Taylor R. Therapeutic application of the second meal effect in Type 2 diabetes. Diabetic Medicine. 2007;24:21-.